Executive Insider

Win, Win, Win: Meeting the growing talent needs of small business through inclusion

In my recent book Win, Win, Win: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer Win, Win, Win Book) I provide 18 tactics anyone can apply to become an inclusive, welcoming leader. As helpful as that is, the hiring challenges small businesses are facing immediately after Covid and beyond – are near crisis level.  I have seen drive thru closed due to staffing, divisions shutdown and retail, well do not get me started.

For all this talk of crisis the good news is a solution exists; expand your talent pool. Seriously, start at the source by asking yourself: what is my mechanism for “getting the word out”, how do I expand it to include as many qualified people as possible without spending a fortune, and what is the best way to onboard those diverse hires?

First a Few Facts:

ü  Win,Win,Win is a nod to the fact that there are 3 wins in inclusive business practices: the leader wins with a great employee, the team wins with an innovative voice added to the conversation and the employee with disability wins thanks to an employer willing to welcome them.

ü  In 2019 The Wall Street Journal reported on a study that looked at the annual stock return, over 5 years for the top 20 diverse companies and the 20 least diverse companies in America. Their findings: while the least diverse companies reported an annual stock return of 4.2% over 5 years the most inclusive companies reported 10%. More than double over a 5 year period.

In other words, inclusion is good for everyone from the top down and the bottom up. Which is why once embraced it is time for action. Two  immediate ways you can get the process going is in how you get the word out and how you onboard. You do not have to be a multinational to have onboarding processes. Every business needs to show new st5aff how things are done and in doing so can ensure.

Getting The Word Out: 

The reason for expanding the source of where you traditionally look for new team members (word of mouth, online ads, sign in the window) is so you have the genuine opportunity to find the best person for the job. If the group from which you hire is only half of the job seeking population than you have only a 50/50 chance of finding the right person for the role.

If you are an inclusive employer, it means you are open to approaching a job differently, dusting off the old job ad simply will not do. Your goal has to be to draw from the largest talent pool possible and the way to do it is to spend  more time now -accessing alternative ways to get the job out – in support of a long-term network of access to job seekers with disabilities who offer experience in problem-solving. Frankly; the world was not built for those of us who live with disabilities so creative problem-solving comes naturally.

If you truly wish to achieve the balance of right person, right job you must be prepared to see how it can be done from different perspectives. It is just that simple – right person right job is a philosophy that guides top employers who wish to identify – not just a good hire – but the person who will add to the workplace culture no matter what size of business.

Inclusive Onboarding:

The employer who understands that successful inclusion starts well before the new employee does is going to be much more likely to experience retention of not just that employee but members of the Team overall.

Top talent consistently identify diversity as a major “tipping point” in choosing which company to join. The brain economy is here and if you want success hiring and retaining the best you need to build a foundation right now! That means not just encouraging HR to include more diverse populations but showing them how. I like to say: the fish stinks from the head – what that means is; even if you are providing staff the best toolkit (training and more) it will only work if it is embraced from the top down!

Inclusive onboarding is more than a catchphrase it is a state of mind and if leadership are serious about staying ahead of the curve – instead of chasing it – they will or have already embraced an “inclusive state of mind”.

Instead of fighting diversity we should be embracing it as the win-win-win it really is in today’s competitive marketplace.


Written by Tova Sherman.

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Tova Sherman
Tova Sherman is an award-winning Inclusion Leader and CEO of The NGO, reachAbility. Her trail-blazing approach to equalizing the playing field around disability at work has led her to be a highly sought-out Presenter and Consultant to P3 Clients across Canada & The US. Her recently released title; Win, Win, Win: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer ( Win, Win, WIn Book) is only the latest accomplishment from this passionate innovator.


Tova Sherman is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.